- Young Texas fan Bella got to lead out her hero Aaron Mooy
- Seven-year-old developed bond during chemotherapy
- Saw the No10 in action during Russia 2018
While we all know football is a global game, for those at the top of the sport it’s often all too easy to forget how it touches the lives of those on the other side of a screen, thousands of miles away.
Bella, a seven-year-old from Texas, was one such person. Having lost her hair during chemotherapy during treatment for medulloblastoma – a brain cancer that more commonly affects children – she found a kindred spirit on the other side of the planet during the FIFA World Cup™.
“It’s a remarkable story,” her father Scott explained. “We watched a lot of Disney movies. She fell asleep and I turned the channel. Australia happened to be playing and I heard this little voice behind: ‘I like that Mooy. He’s like me,’ and pointed to her hair, or lack of it at that point.”
One Huddersfield Town kit, emblazoned with the No10’s name on her back, and a viral Instagram post later, Bella was on her way to having the trip of a lifetime to meet her Australian hero.
Fast-forward six months and she was in the north of England, hanging out with the English Premier League side after a 4,600-mile trip to the John Smith’s Stadium. Having led out the team with her, it was also a memorable occasion for Mooy himself.
“It was very special to meet Bella,” the Terriers and Socceroos star reflected. “It puts life into perspective, a sick little girl and making her happy. I know the season’s been very tough but bringing Bella here picked everyone up a bit and it made me very happy that she came.”
The privilege of making a difference
The day clearly touched her father, too. “This is incredible,” Scott said at half-time of Huddersfield’s game with Leicester City. “This is truly remarkable. They have made a little Texas girl’s dream come true, to meet somebody who, unbeknownst to him, helped her deal with [this]… she used to have long curly hair like her twin sister.
“It helped her get to the point where she didn’t wear a wig. She didn’t feel she had to. It is remarkable where we find our strength. I don’t know if words can fully express how much it helped her. How much it helped ease the burden of our family.”
And while it’s not considered the primary role of the 22 players on the pitch, having this kind of impact is a feature Mooy is happy to embrace. “It’s one of the privileges of the job. You can help people in a lot of different ways.
“Without doing anything she got some joy out of watching me play at the World Cup and now she’s a Huddersfield fan and she’s come to the match. It’s amazing and I hope she had a good time because that’s the thing that can make me happy today.”
The result on the day did not go Huddersfield’s way, being on the end of a 4-1 defeat, but Bella got to see her idol score from the spot – a moment she revelled in among the stadium regulars. “We never get penalties and she gave us that luck today and I have to say thank you to her,” Mooy concluded. “I’m glad that she’s happy.”